After a short visit to Dubai, we were finally on our way to Italy. But wait! Although Milan was the destination of our flight, we planned to spend very little time in the city. We were arriving late because we had already stretched our time in Dubai up to the limit, and we needed a place to crash before taking the train to Venice the next morning. I filled out a transfer request to consolidate the last of our points with World of Hyatt (and bought a few more) to get the 30,000 needed for an award at the Park Hyatt Milan.
We’ll get to the hotel in a bit. First, I want to talk logistics.
Emirates has an arrivals lounge at Milan Malpensa airport for arriving business and first class passengers to meet their complimentary chauffeur. They also give you the option to drive to Lugano, which is an Italian-speaking canton in southern Switzerland. I had a wonderful visit there on my first trip to Europe eleven years ago and still remember taking the tram up San Salvatore for a view of the surrounding lakes.
Malpensa itself is a mess. The airport is in the middle of nowhere, and it normally requires an hour-long train ride to the city center. Tack on another hour waiting in a motionless queue for immigration. I strongly recommend you find some other way to reach Milan, perhaps traveling intra-Europe and flying into the Linate airport.
Fortunately our driver told us we were heading to the best hotel in the city, and after just one night at the Park Hyatt Milan, I am inclined to agree. It more than made up for our earlier headaches.
As you pass the old city walls, the paved streets turn to cobblestones. Soon enough we pulled up to the Park Hyatt, adjacent to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. You could almost miss the hotel. There is a very small turnabout, and if you walk passed the bollards you reach one arm of the Galleria. Most people walk along the other axis, which leads to the Duomo.
The doorman grabbed our bags and led us inside, where the lobby is dominated by a cozy dining area under a glass dome. Reception is just a couple of desks off to the side in a narrow hallway.
Our credentials were quickly checked before we received our room keys to a room on the third floor overlooking that same driveway. Everything was taken care of because this was an award stay, though we did have to pay for breakfast as my Globalist status lapsed some time ago.
The room felt small but at least had high ceilings and tasteful decor. I thought it made good use of the space available and reminded me in some ways of the Andaz Tokyo or the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Very stylish and not at all gaudy like some of the older Italian hotels.
Waiting for us on the desk was a small box of chocolate truffles by Antica Torroneria Piemontese. I made sure to buy a few assorted gift boxes of the same brand for friends back home. The next morning we were able to open the window and shutters to enjoy those chocolates with some Illy espresso as we caught up on email.
But by far, my favorite part was the bathroom. The large, deep bathtub appealed to Megan. My attention was caught by the octagonal shower, a clever way of creating an large space that still included shelves and a bench. So often you find a tub with no place to put a towel, or a shower with no place to put your soap. This was both beautiful AND functional. Megan has instructions to recreate it when we finally build our dream home.
The bath amenities by Laura Tonatto were also excellent, even compared to the Acqua di Parma toiletries at our next hotel, the Gritti Palace, and the standard Remède toiletries at the St. Regis Rome.
Getting back to breakfast, the food at the Park Hyatt Milan was excellent and was easily the best breakfast of any hotel we stayed at on this trip. We opted for the continental menu and were brought a selection of pastries, juice, yogurt, and two cappuccinos for about €20 per person. The pastries were flaky, the blood orange juice tasted like strawberries, and after thoroughly enjoying her yogurt, Megan was on the hunt for the rest of our trip trying to find something comparable.
After breakfast, we wandered around the old castle and a small children’s carnival before doing some window shopping on the way back to the hotel. We cut it close, but our taxi made it to the train station with just enough time. Taxi fare to the Frecciarossa at Milano Centrale was €12, but Milano Cadorna is walking distance. Fortunately, both are served by the Malpensa Express (€13) if you don’t enjoy the luxury of an Emirates chauffeur.
Really, I have no complaints at all with this hotel except maybe the small size of the rooms and lobby — but that’s to be expected in Europe. Regular readers know that it’s rare I let any hotel off the hook without issue, but it’s more important that the space they had was well utilized. Certainly the service, food, and everything else was excellent. I can see why it’s a Category 7 property. With rates typically north of $600, even 30,000 points are a good redemption, and if you can afford more, there are larger rooms and suites available.
Passing back through Milan on our return journey, we had a whole afternoon before the chauffeur picked us up for our 9 PM flight. That gave us time to head out to the canal district, which has some fun and less expensive restaurants. But the real high-end shopping is still going to be back near the Park Hyatt and the Galleria. I particularly like the Rinascente department store. If you can stomach €15 cocktails, there’s a food hall on the top floor with a bar that overlooks the Duomo.
What about art? Megan’s research didn’t lead her to anything interesting in terms of art or architecture, so unless you buy advance tickets to see da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” I think your options are limited. That sounds harsh but is meant to be a relative statement. On this same trip we spent 11 days visiting Rome, Venice, and Florence. Even as I find more things to like about Milan — including this hotel — I think it will continue to be a waypoint rather than the destination for future trips.